My first NAS server was purchased in 2007. In more than nine years of service, there was never any data loss. At one point the power supply needed replacement and that also got me looking at replacing the NAS box in the near future. When it came time for that I replacement, I went with one of the 10-drive models from Asustor. We kept a lot of important data and backups on it. Even better, we could securely access it from anywhere in the world.
For a year and a half, it was flawless. Then disaster struck in early September 2018. I walked away from the computer for maybe five minutes to grab some lunch and came back to find my computer had rebooted. When the computer came back, I was unable to access the NAS drive. I now know there was a very brief power outage or surge in the short time I stepped away. All of the equipment utilizes “surge protectors” so a surge shouldn’t have caused a problem. No, they aren’t foolproof though I don’t think a surge was behind this problem.
One of the benefits of the way I had configured the NAS box was that any single drive were to fail. Replace the failed drive and the system would rebuild itself. Given that I had a decade of history without a single failed drive, this plan seemed solid. The power outage killed two drives and thus I was in deep trouble and I knew the solution would be very expensive.
I contacted a nearby firm that specialized in Data Recovery, appropriated named datarecovery.com. To me the best case scenario would be recovering one of the failed drives so that the data could be pulled off the NAS box safely. Unfortunately it was closer to the worst case scenario involving all ten drives. Yes, they got my data back though the cost was high. Just tells you the true value of our data!
In order to provide the data back to me, I had to purchase a storage medium and went with the Western Digital 10 TB External Drive. While this added to my overall bill, it was a minimal bite in my wallet.
The two failed drives obviously needed to be replaced. But I was concerned the other eight could potentially fail. Therefore I bit the bullet and got ten new drives as an insurance policy against more failure. Yet again more expense. As I reconfigured the drive, I chose to use RAID 6 instead of RAID 5. This would allow any two drives to fail and simply require replacement to recover.
As a last piece of insurance, I connected the computer, NAS server and monitor to a uninterrupted power supply. All the data is safely back online after nearly a month and a big bill.
I now have a stronger data policy in place, though there are still potential points of failure. I can only hope that the fluke disaster doesn’t get any worse should it happen again.
Photo by Nikolas Noonan